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Rag Radio 2013-10-25 - Pioneering Houston Feminist Frances "Poppy" Northcutt


Published October 25, 2013


Thorne Dreyer's guest is Frances "Poppy" Northcutt, a Houston attorney and president of the Houston and Texas chapters of the National Organization for Women (NOW). Northcutt, who has played a central role in the women’s movement since the mid-Sixties, was the City of Houston’s first Women’s Advocate in 1974-75 under Mayor Fred Hofheinz. In that role she initiated legislative and executive proposals to eliminate sex discrimination in the police and fire departments and elsewhere in city government. She was also the founding chair in 1974 of the Harris County Women’s Political Caucus. Northcutt was on-site coordinator for the historic National Womens Conference, sponsored by the U.S. State Department and held in Houston in November 1977, drawing 20,000 participants.

Northcutt first gained national attention during the Apollo missions in the mid-Sixties when, as a mathematician and engineer, she was the first woman to work in flight support at NASA’s Mission Control. In a September 1970 Life magazine cover story titled “Women Arise,” Northcutt was one of eight women profiled as "succeeding in a man’s world.” She was singled out in a 1969 AP story about women playing key roles in the space program and was also featured in Mademoiselle, Ms. Magazine, and other publications. Northcutt won a number of awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom Team Award for work in the rescue of the Apollo 13 crew.

This episode of Rag Radio was produced in the studios of KPFT-FM in Houston with the assistance of KPFT news anchor Marlo Blue.

Host and Producer of Rag Radio: Thorne Dreyer; Engineer and Co-Producer: Tracey Schulz. Rag Radio (koop.org/ragradio) is produced in the studios of KOOP 91.7-FM, an all-volunteer, cooperatively-run community radio station in Austin, Texas, in association with The Rag Blog (theragblog.blogspot.com) and the New Journalism Project, a Texas 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The show is broadcast (and streamed) live Fridays, 2-3 p.m. (Central) on KOOP, and is rebroadcast and streamed on WFTE-FM in Mt. Cobb and Scranton, PA., Sundays at 10 a.m. (Eastern time) and on Houston Pacifica's KPFT HD-3 90.1 on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. (Central). Contact: ragradio@koop.org. Running time: 54:17.


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